The destruction wrought by the tornado near The Land is almost unimaginable. Only a single house was left whole. About a third of the houses in the neighborhood are damaged but largely intact, a third have just a few walls remaining, and a third are heaps of unrecognizable rubble.
A few houses to the south of The Land survived with light to moderate damage. Beyond them, every house was gutted or leveled.
On the east side of the road it's another story; almost every house is a total loss. One home, a cute little factory-built Victorian farmhouse that was assembled on the lot, was completely swept away; there's just a bare slab and a few pieces of debris remaining.
Not even the brick mailboxes survived the fury of the storm. Can you imagine wind so powerful that it can tear apart a brick mailbox? None in the southern half of the addition withstood the storm. Most of the phone and electric utility boxes there were also uprooted.
Southern Man was very, very lucky; a little damage to The Barn, a few broken windows and sprung doors, a couple of trees down - and that's it.
The half-million-dollar home across the street from The Land was eviscerated - there's hardly anything left on the inside at all. Just out of the shot on the right is an overturned full-sized pickup. In the background some of the surviving utility poles lean south; a half-mile down the road they're bent north, which gives you an idea of the size of the rotation. Even angle-iron fence posts were flattened by the twister.
Southern Man spent his day helping out his neighbors as best he could, assisting in the search for the missing boy (this morning the search was been widened to include our addition and the boy has still not been found as of this writing), and doing a little repair work and clean up. And counting his blessings. Trees were uprooted on the southwest corner of The Land, the home shown above is across the street at the northeast corner - and his two structures were hardly touched. Lord, why were my worthless buildings spared when so many homes were taken and so many families left with nothing? Help me to understand Your grace and mercy, that I might show it to others as You have to me. Amen.
[Added later] Didn't notice until this evening that the camera date was wrong; all photos taken 5/25/2011. The Wikipedia article on this outbreak is here. The body of the missing child was found the next morning, bringing the death toll for this tornado (now classified as EF4) to nine.